Rich College-Educated Parents Aren’t Smart Enough To Buckle Up Their Kids

kitten car seatFor all the vilifying that often happens to poor parents, the biggest offenders in child seat belt safety aren’t parents making decisions between paying their electricity bill and having enough gas in their cars. Nope, according to a Safe Kids Worldwide study, it’s the college-educated wealthy set that are totally throwing caution to the wind when it comes to carpool duty. reports that the study of 1,000 parents concluded that moms and dads who pulled down an income of $100,000 plus a year or had college educations were “more likely to skip the seat belt, car seat or booster seat.”

The report specifies that car accidents are the leading cause of death for children under 12 in the United States, and in 2011, 33 percent of the children who died were not “buckled up.”

One-third of the wealthier parents in the study (who pulled down 100K or more a year) went so far as to say that it was “acceptable” to leave their kid unbuckled if they weren’t driving far from the home — which is ironic considering that a reported 60 percent of car accidents involving children take place 10 minutes or so from the home. Only a reported 15 percent of considerably less affluent parents (making less than $35,000 a year) agreed that short car rides were reason enough to not buckle up.

Younger parents, as well as parents with graduate degrees, were more likely to engage in these risks as well:


Across the board, younger parents were also more likely to find alternative reasons for not buckling their babes:

seatbeltstudy2 But when taking a peek at education, the more degrees a parent possessed, the more likely they were to agree with the following excuses:seatbeltstudy3And when assessing why other parents don’t buckle up, the top scenario seemed to also be “not driving far.”seatbeltstudy

So in short, more education and means does not exactly equal awareness on this particular vein of child safety.

(photo: Hues of Heather)

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  • Rachel Sea

    So they’re to smart to get in a wreck? Their car will be safe enough without restraints?

    Arrogant fools.

  • Magrat

    Gah, why is it always parents with grad degrees that are all, “Psh, safety is for plebes”? Y’all are making us look bad.
    For the record, this doctoral student with an MA is totally pro seat belts and vaccines.

    Edited for punctuation, because I don’t have an excuse.

    • Koa_Beck

      “Plebes” is gold.

  • Angela

    This is so baffling. I honestly don’t know a single parent who’s lax about car seats or seat belts (and I know plenty with college degrees). I wonder if “not driving far” means things like starting to back out of your driveway or parking spot before your kid is done buckling. I will do that occasionally if my 4 year old is taking awhile to get his buckles done up but I will not pull into traffic until he is fully buckled. I guess I also have let him sit in the front seat unbuckled when we’ve been switching cars in the driveway and once he rode in the back of a pick-up truck (with an adult) on a boat launch ramp. I guess if those things count I am guilty as well. Otherwise I have a hard time imagining there are so many neglectful parents out there (though maybe that’s just me being naive).

  • Katie L.

    There have a been a couple of times where we were just driving from one end of a (very large) parking lot to the other, but we still buckled the kid in. It’s a pain in the ass sure, but not as much as an injured kid.

    I can only imagine the pearls that are being clutched by the car seat sanctimommies over this. They must be feeling so vindicated right now.

  • Melissa T.

    This is bizarre. Seriously. It’s a common sense thing.

  • Shelly Lloyd

    College educate–not wealthy though–and I ALWAYS buckle up my children. My family learned the very, very hard way. We lost my grandmother, grandfather, aunt and baby brother to a very tragic drunk driving accident nearly 30 years ago. My Grandmother was driving the car when she was hit head-on by a drunk driver. No one in the car was buckled up. Everyone died, but if they had been buckled up they all would have lived with the exception of my Grandfather.
    I was about 8 years old at the time. My baby brother was only 10 months old. Let that sink in.

    • Katia

      How awful :(

  • Mumoftwo

    My in-laws, who are practically swimming in money, think it’s great to use expired and broken seats, as long as they find a bargain. They think me and my husband are crazy for actually following Carseat guidelines.

    All of us have advanced degrees-the poor ones (us) follow the guidelines while the rich ones are above it all.

    • Kay

      This is my in-laws. They are also swimming in money and both doctors. They try to use expired seats and never have the straps tight enough. After 6 years they are finally getting the strap part correctly. But I have told them no driving with expired seats and my kiddos.

  • Ashley

    This absolutely baffles me.

  • j

    I have a family member that always does the whole “were not going far” thing and puts her 5 year old in the front seat, as a treat. Granted there isn’t a airbag in the passenger seat, but still. It makes my stomach turn every time. how do you say anything? I still haven’t figured it out. Being a person without children, I don’t feel like I have a right to tell anyone what to do with their children. I am very tempted to send her the statistic about how much more likely something is to happen close to your home, but how do you do that without seriously offending someone?

  • CW

    I always insist on at minimum a seatbelt but I’ll admit to having allowed my oldest to ride with just a seatbelt for short distances on city streets (not the freeway) before it was technically legal for her. My state recently tightened its booster seat laws, which had been 60 lbs. but now it’s a height of 4′ 9″. That is just plain ridiculous. It took her until age 10 1/2 to get tall enough.

  • LK

    I think rather than the college-educated part, maybe it’s the rich part? Like, if you’re the kind of rich that has had a cushioned life it can be harder to believe anything bad could happen?

    Because yeah, that’s baffling. Kids get bucked up ALWAYS and my husband and I both have master’s degrees.

  • Kelby Johnson

    My oldest is going to be 11 on Friday and he hasn’t been in a booster seat since he was 8, however my youngest will be 6 (on Monday) and she sits in her booster every single time we go somewhere. The only time I let her go without is when we drive to our Uncle’s house and that’s only because he is our neighbor and we don’t even go out on the road… we literally drive through the yard to get there.

    I do let my oldest sit in the front sometimes, I am guilty of that.

  • Mel

    I read this article two days ago and totally thought it was full of lies because nobody could be that irresponsible, right? Then just yesterday I saw my daughter’s 4 year old classmate riding on his mom’s lap in the passenger seat. They’re definitely not college educated, though…

  • scooby23

    “College-educated?” Where did they get their degrees? The University of Car Safety is for Helicopter Parents We Were Perfectly Fine Roaming Around in the Back of our Parents’ Station Wagon Except for that One Cousin Back in the Good Ol’ Days Oh and Don’t Worry About Whooping Cough Either My Aunt Survived it With Only Some Serious Breathing Problems?